Stock India airport Delhi
September return rates have historically tended to gain as expats return from holidays, along with increased business-related trips as the new season begins in earnest. (Pictured here is a file picture of Terminal 3 at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi.) Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: After dipping in August, airfares from India to the UAE will be on the rise for September, as expats returning from holidays and jobseekers generate sizeable demand for seats. Rate increases could be 40-50 per cent and more as business-related trips will also be on the rise from next month.

A flight from Delhi to Dubai will cost around Dh930, up significantly from the Dh500 plus charged now. Mumbai-Dubai flights will likely hit Dh800 next month compared to around Dh550 right now. The Kochi-Dubai route is already on the higher side, with most carriers charging more than Dh1,000 for a one-way ticket. These are seen skyrocketing to Dh3,500 in September.

For those flying in from Thiruvananthapuram, fares will nearly double to Dh1,500. “The rise in September airfares is completely due to expats returning to UAE after the first proper summer without travel restrictions,” said Suraj Ramesh, Tours Manager, Albadie Travel Agency. “Tourists have not started coming in yet because it is still too hot – we will see inflows only by October-end.”

Another travel agent said that airlines are squeezing the most out of residents, who have to return ahead of school re-openings. Air India is planning to start thrice-weekly flights from Dubai to Kolkata only by winter, said the airline’s regional manager. “We are restricted by bilaterals (and) hence have to play around with current entitlements only,” he added.

Kolkata to Dubai currently costs about Dh800, but rise to around Dh1,000 in September. Air India flights are going for around Dh870 in November.

India-UAE airfares
Image Credit: Vijith Pulikkal/Gulf News

How soon before new airlines arrive?

India’s aviation will be seeing a host of new airlines – and which could aim for the UAE market soon. The budget carrier Akasa Air, backed by billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, has opened ticket sales for its first commercial flights starting August 7. The carrier’s initial network will include a total of 56 weekly flights between the western cities of Mumbai and Ahmedabad and the southern cities of Bengaluru and Kochi on its new Boeing 737 MAX planes.

Jet Airways has received an air operator’s license from India’s aviation regulator for a restart in the third quarter of 2022. Jet, which was once India’s biggest private airline, previously operated a fleet of more than 120 planes serving dozens of domestic destinations and international hubs such as Singapore, London, and Dubai.

Some existing airlines on the UAE-India route want to ramp up flights to meet the pent-up demand. “We used to operate flights to Sharjah under the (2020) air bubble agreement, but had to pull back once normal scheduled operations resumed,” said Vinod Kannan, CEO of Vistara, owned by Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines. “We are looking at more points wherever bilateral rights are available – that will be announced in due course.”

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, known to sell short-haul tickets for as low as Dh70, also has India on its radar. “We are hoping to fly the new aircraft to new destinations, including India – we don’t have a fixed timeline as yet.”